Sunday, October 10, 2010

The wisdom of the seasons

The leaves on the tree outside my window are gently falling as I write.

The chrysanthemums and marigolds are in full bloom. Front porches on my street are decorated with pumpkins, gourds and bales of hay. A basket of sweet honey crisp apples adorns my kitchen counter.

It is autumn. In all its splendor.

The seasons are wise. Either they follow the signals of our bodies, or we follow them. Whichever the case, there is harmony in honoring each season.

For example, we seem to come alive in the springtime. The sun warms the earth, and the days grow longer. Flowers bloom, trees bud, there is color everywhere, and love is in the air. We are energized.

Summer brings a combination of adventure and a bit of laziness. Lounging on beaches, sipping lemonade, planning vacations or weekend get-aways. Parades, town festivals, barbecue grilling and dining on outdoor patios, S'mores at dusk, fireworks.

Winter is often dreaded where I live in Minnesota. Icy roads cause treacherous driving conditions, and our entire wardrobes are based on layers of sweaters, coats, boots, scarves, mittens.

But the beauty of freshly fallen snow, frosty window panes, and snow settled on evergreen branches is magnificent. It's time for fireplaces, cocoa, marshmallows, afghans. There isn't a better time for knitting or scrapbooking, stitching, or curling up with a good book.

Since I am a spring and summer lover, I always looked at autumn as the end of things; a signal that winter was approaching. In Minnesota, it can be a very long winter. For ski lovers and snowmobilers, it is most welcome. But not for me.

Then a friend very poetically told me that the real beauty of autumn, aside from its glorious colors of red, oranges and yellows, lies in the earth's ability to rest. And to know rest is needed. Like every living thing. Like everybody.

Now, when I see the leaves gently falling from the trees, I look at the bare branches and think: rest, o weary one. You have endured wind, rain and sun to provide shade. You've provided birds a place to nest, squirrels a place to climb, and a place for them to get nutrients to sustain life. And you have shared with us the beauty of your greenery.

And it gives me permission to rest. To wind down a bit. To prepare myself for yet another year of seasons. To start over again.

All of the seasons are refreshing and new each time they come around in their cycle. I think it is a marvel.

Wherever you are in this world, whatever your season: pause and enjoy. Each season. Each day.